This year will see the final announcement, accompanied by much justifiable celebration, of the eradication from the wild of rinderpest, the ‘cattle plague’ that has been with us for so many centuries. The only known rinderpest virus (RPV) remaining is in a relatively small number of laboratories around the world, and in the stockpiles of vaccine held on a precautionary basis. As we mark this achievement, only the second virus ever eradicated through human intervention, it seems a good time to look at rinderpest's less famous cousin, peste des petits ruminants (‘the plague of small ruminants’) and assess if it should, and could, also be targeted for global eradication.
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